The weather may be turning chillier and the leaves disappearing, but with Thanksgiving and the winter holidays approaching, you’re likely to have a bustle of activity indoors. Get ahead of things this November by checking these 12 items off your to-do list, and rest easy in a cleaner, cozier home.
1. Decorate for the season naturally. You don’t need to spend much (if anything) to bring a seasonal touch to your home. Hang a wreath on the door, and collect acorns and pinecones from outdoors to make a simple centerpiece that will last indefinitely. Bowls of apples, pomegranates and nuts in the shell make for easy (and edible) table decor.
2. Make a donation to your local food pantry. Getting Thanksgiving meal essentials to families in need can make a big impact at this time of year. Check with your local food pantry before you go shopping to see what it is most in need of — it can be hard to keep fresh items that families need, like milk, in stock, so see which fresh items are needed. Of course, food pantries need support throughout the year, so consider making donating a monthly to-do.
3. Schedule a pre-holidays carpet cleaning. Whether you rent a carpet cleaning machine or hire pros, getting rugs freshened up before holiday gatherings will help your home look its best. If you hire a carpet cleaner, consider having your upholstery done, too.
4. Set up a humidifier — and keep it clean. When you’re running the heater a lot, the air can get very dry. Using a humidifier puts moisture back into the air, which can help your space feel warmer and more comfortable. But be vigilant about keeping the humidifier clean — it can easily become mildewed, which can be harmful, especially for allergy sufferers.
5. Check the sump pump. If you have a sump pump to protect your basement in case of flooding, be sure to check it and make sure it is working properlybefore the November rains take their toll.
6. Deep clean the kitchen.Cleaning everything thoroughly now will give you a chance to take stock of what’s in those cupboards and pantry before any major holiday cooking happens. Clear expired food out of the pantry, fridge and freezer; clean appliances; and clean dust and grime from the light fixtures and range hood.
7. Organize closets. With bulky fall and winter clothes taking up more space, it’s natural for closets to get overstuffed at this time of year. Take a day to clear through some of the clutter, and donate a bag of clothes to charity. Make sure there is nothing on the closet floors — use shelves, bins and hooks to store things and prevent future pileups.
9. Check walkways, railings and stairs for winter safety. Clear away gardening supplies and anything else that’s in the way on walking paths. Check that railings and stairs are in good repair.
10. Keep furry friends safe. Keep pets safe by storing antifreeze and other harmful chemicals securely. And with shorter days and longer nights, winter is a more dangerous time for pets to be outdoors. Get a reflective collar for your dog, especially if he or she tends to escape or you live near a busy street, and consider keeping indoor-outdoor cats inside for winter.
11. Have trees trimmed. Trees are dormant at this time of year, which makes it a good time to have the trees on your property professionally trimmed. Trimming trees helps prevent unstable limbs from falling and causing damage during winter storms.
12. Clear rain gutters and downspouts one last time. If more leaves have fallen since the last time your gutters were cleaned, be sure to have them cleared out one last time before winter. Leaves left clogging gutters and downspouts can cause water and ice to pool, potentially causing damage to your siding or even leaks.
Tell us: What’s on your to-do list for November?